High School Sports

Nickelson thrives running new offense

Jarrod Nickelson isn't a flashy running back. His method is straightforward, and it works. Nickelson prefers to run between the tackles and would rather run over a defender than take a sweep outside and make somebody miss.

And on the way to leading Clearwater to a 3-1 record, the senior has smashed his way to 649 yards rushing at a clip of 8.3 yards per carry.

Clearwater coach Dirk Ankerholz tweaked his offense in the offseason and started calling plays out of the double wing T. Nickelson has flourished.

"I'm really excited about what he's been able to do behind the line," Ankerholz said. "He's really starting to catch on to the offense. This is the first year that we've run this offense. He's been really excited about what the line has been doing for him."

Nickelson has adjusted to the timing. He knows when the holes will open up and when they will close. He knows where the running lanes will be.

"I've just been finding the holes this year, and my lineman have been blocking," Nickelson said. "I've just been playing the game awhile and you learn to read the holes and follow your blockers."

And while Nickelson's stated preference is to go head-on with defenders, Ankerholz thinks he has the ability to outrun would-be tacklers if he gets a glimpse of daylight.

"It speaks volumes about the athleticism that Jarrod has. He has good football speed," Ankerholz said. "He doesn't lose any steps when he puts the pads on. He's a tough runner. A lot of the times the first contact won't bring him down. It takes two or three tacklers ganging up on him to bring him down, which is good for us. The way the offense is it forces the defense to bring a whole bunch of people at one time."